Sunday, April 12, 2015

Luke 24.36-49: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Fabric, Lock

The locked door is one of the details to watch for in pictures of the gospel reading for Easter 3B (Luke 24:36-49). It was important enough for the writer to mention it, but it is hit or miss in the depictions of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances. Often these appearances are focused on the wounds in Jesus' hands and side rather than other details. Only very occasionally does an artist include a platter of fish that need to be present in Luke's account of this locked-room mystery. Why include such a detail in the text if it isn't important?
The Risen Jesus Appears to His Disciples. 1476. Codex of Predis, Royal Library, Turin.

The 15th-century illustration from the Codex of Predis gives the barest details. The disciples are tightly gathered around Jesus, who is partially clad in a toga-like garment. The room, with a ceiling of corbeled wooden beams, is barely big enough to contain all the disciples as they stand. The possibility of sharing a meal is unthinkable. 

The only other object that breaks up the unadorned blue walls is the door, crafted with what appear to be strap hinges and a lock made of iron. Those elements are the darkest things on the page, at the opposite end of the value scale from Jesus' white winding-clothes. The cloth does nothing to lessen the impression of Jesus as ghost, but the wounds that prove it is indeed Jesus are easily visible. The contrast between flimsy fabric garment and solid metal object would seem to underscore the impossibility of entering a locked room. But this Jesus has the ability to do what seems impossible, and he has the will to go anywhere as he redeems humanity. Even into a locked room.

Yes, in this case, flesh and fabric are indeed stronger than iron.

For thoughts on Acts 3:12-19, click here.

This week on the story looks in one children's story Bible. Click on the link. And check out Food&Faith Matters for ideas of two sauces to serve the next time your menu, like the disciples', includes fish.


  1. Love seeing this post this morning. Then to see it was written by my friend Lynn Miller is an extra blessing!

  2. Thank you, Emma. It's a treat to "see you" this way. If any of you reading this live in the New Orleans area and want a place to play, check out Uptown Needle and Craftworks on Magazine Street. Uptown is the result of Emma's dreams, hopes and hard work.